Vergne says Hartley's Toro Rosso F1 call-up 'makes me laugh'

Ex-Formula 1 driver Jean-Eric Vergne says Brendon Hartley's call-up with Toro Rosso "makes me laugh" after the Kiwi had previously been dropped by Red Bull

Vergne says Hartley's Toro Rosso F1 call-up 'makes me laugh'

Speaking at a press conference ahead of next month's Paris Formula E race, Vergne commented on the arrangement that led to Hartley racing full time for Toro Rosso eight years after he was dropped from the Red Bull junior scheme.

"It makes me laugh that Red Bull called on Hartley, given that he's the one they fired to give me his seat in World Series by Renault," said Vergne.

"I find this rather amusing."

Vergne added that if fellow ex-Toro Rosso driver and FE rival Sebastien Buemi had landed Hartley's drive, he would "probably get fired after one year, with no options in top teams, as the car is not good enough".

The Techeetah driver, who leads the 2017/18 FE championship at the halfway stage, also explained how joining the electric series after he was dropped from Toro Rosso at the end of 2014 had helped his mindset.

"Joining Formula E was the most difficult time of my career, when leaving F1," he said.

"But with hindsight, I think it was the turning point of my career.

"In any difficult or negative situation, there are positives to draw. You just need to extract them.

"I was lucky to join Formula E at the right time and quickly change my mentality and my state of mind. Today, I think it's the best thing that can happen to me."

Vergne was "hurt" during F1 spell

Vergne recently discussed his career on Motorsport.tv's weekly show The Flying Lap.

The 27-year-old explained how he has changed his approach following his F1 exit and how he views his time in the championship.

"Looking back, I could have handled things differently," he said.

"I went through a hard 12 months, looking at how I could turn things around.

"I changed a lot of things in the way I approach the sport."

He added he had his confidence "destroyed" in F1.

"The positives were that I was able to learn from everything that happened and that today I don't believe that I can be hurt in Formula E the way I was hurt in F1.

"Outside the car I can now see everything with a different eye and as a global driver that's much better.

"I came into F1 really strong and confident but some people completely destroyed me.

"I finished eighth in my first race and there was a huge celebration in the team.

"They were super-happy. I walked back to the garage and I said 'Hey, that was only eighth place. That's not what I want'.

"If I went back now, that's definitely something I'd change.

"I'd be happy with eighth place - and that was the strength of Daniel Ricciardo.

"He was always happy, regardless of what happened. That I think was my biggest weakness."

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